Two months ago, Google sued the US government because it reportedly only considered Microsoft for a five-year e-mail services contract worth between $49 million and $59 million. Now, Judge Susan Braden of the US Court of Federal Claims in Washington has ordered the Interior Department to rethink its plan for its 88,000 employees and granted Google's wish for a preliminary injunction to stop Microsoft from winning the deal and receiving the contract on January 25, 2011.
In her ruling, the judge said Google showed that the Interior Department may have violated rules for competition in contracting and sent the matter back for reconsideration. The court, of course, made no judgment on whether Microsoft was the right supplier for the contract.
"Without a preliminary injunction, the award will put into motion the final migration of Interior's e-mail system, achieve 'organizational lock-in' for Microsoft, and cost Google the opportunity to compete," the judge wrote in a 27-page decision. "The court ... discerns no basis in the present administrative record to support Google allegations of bad faith. Likewise, the court discerns no improper conduct by Microsoft, the actions of which show only competitive zeal and interest in customer satisfaction."
"As a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general, we're pleased with the court's decision," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. Google's original argument was that the government's proposed terms were unfairly designed against it, arguing that the Interior Department only considered proposals based on Microsoft technology.